Who We Are

Bench Marks Foundation was founded by the Churches in 2001 to monitor all multinational companies in South Africa and the region, with a regional focus on South African companies’ expansion into Africa. It has done work on South African supermarkets in Africa, on whether they are purely extractive or contribute to host countries economic development. It has a big focus on mining and extractive both in South Africa and in Botswana, Zambia and the DRC, as well as Malawi. This focus has also led to focus on the relationship between banks investment policies and mining and other sectors of the economy.

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Bench Marks Foundation has worked with a number of international NGO’s on human rights due diligence and of the biggest buyers of platinum and international companies supply chain responsibilities encompassing human rights and the environment.  With a focus on South African Companies expanding into the rest of Africa.

Bench Marks Foundation works with an international coalition of faith-based organizations from around the world that developed the Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility-Bench Marks for Measuring Business Performance, that has been hailed as one of four leading instruments that set benchmarks for social responsibility through the lens of corporate social responsibility covering all sectors of the economy


To be on every company’s agenda and to be a household name


Bench Marks Foundation is committed to providing leadership and advocacy on bench marking of good corporate governance, ethical and socially responsible investment as well as linking people and institutions committed to these ideals


Pro poor and on the side of those suffering – an option and solidarity for the poor, speaking truth to power, to the promotion, attainment, and restoration of human dignity. A Values driven organization that is highly ethical, accountable and acts with integrity and has an excellent track record both in its work, governance, and financial integrity.

Research - Policy Gap Series

We critically examine CSR through the lens of investment and investment impacts. Is it good or bad? Do the costs outweigh the benefits? Companies, governments and civil society, both locally and globally, recognize us as a key role player and opinion maker regarding CSR and sustainable development.

Voice Power and Media Advocacy

Currently communities are severely disadvantaged when it comes to mining companies. Communities often lack information and access to expert advice, and end up giving their rights away.They also lack recourse to justice when they are aggrieved. Women and children are particularly impacted.

Community Monitoring School

The Bench Marks Foundation has mobilized and trained members from over forty communities in South Africa to monitor corporations and local government. Community Monitors report on their findings using internet, social media, local radio and newsletters.

The Independent Capacity Building Fund (ICF) And The Independent Problem Solving Service

Currently communities are severely disadvantaged when it comes to mining companies. Communities often lack information and access to expert advice, and end up giving their rights away.They also lack recourse to justice when they are aggrieved.

John Capel, Executive Director of the Bench Marks Foundation, has resigned effective from 31 December 2021. He has served the organization with distinction over the last twenty years. the board and staff thank him for his services and wish him well in his future endeavors. the deputy Director Moses Cloete will serve as acting Executive Director in the interim.

The environmental contamination of villages in close proximity to the Kabwe lead mine in the District of Kabwe, Zambia – Lead Poison Animation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6nsDlYmiO0&t=22s South African Attorneys, Mbuyisa Moleele Attorneys, in collaboration with London-based lawyers, Leigh Day, have filed a lead poisoning class action lawsuit. This case is against Anglo American South Africa Limited (“AASA”) on behalf of a class which the lawyers believe could exceed more than 100,000 Zambian children and women of childbearing age. The legal […]

THE AMI 2023

It is that time of the year again. The Alternative Mining Indaba will take place in Cape Town from 4 to 9 February with a number of pre-conference activities. Whilst the 2022 theme focused on a “just energy transition for sustainable mining communities in a climate crisis era’, this year’ focus adds to it. The […]

Hot air from political and corporate elites worsens climate catastrophe?

November 2022 Dear Hassen, November always seems to have too much to say and do. In this edition, we deal with tailings, following hot after our annual conference focus on mine closure. We also discuss the hot air from political and corporate elites, which is worsening the climate catastrophe because it is mere corporate spin. […]

The abc of mine closure

October 2022 Dear Friends, on 18-19 October, the Bench Marks Foundation held its annual conference on the burning issue of mine closure. The two days meeting was attended by mining affected communities, activists and other “stakeholders”. Mpho Matsemela, a member of the SnakePark Cerebral Palsy Forum, attended the conference for the first time: “My experience […]

Benchmarks Foundation Annual Conference

18 - 19 OCTOBER 2022


Mining closure conferences are a regular feature in some historic mining countries such as Australia, but have not yet surfaced here in any significant way. The Bench Marks Foundation intends to reverse this neglect and bring to focus mining closures which, as the theory goes, begin the day mining commences.
This area of work, mine closures, is thus critical for the people, the environment and wider societal benefit, especially in the time of climate change. It is a critical pillar in the mining cycle and the Bench Marks Foundation seeks to engage this process for many reasons; in particular:
– To provide context for a full and proper discussion on illegal mining and the related issues concerning the rights of artisanal mining as well as the failures of formal rights holders to comply with the law;
– To help us understand the legal, regulatory frameworks that govern mining closures and, particularly, the obligations to rehabilitate such closures; and
– To show that the neglect to regulate in favour of the environment, workers and the poor, – particularly those living in and around mining townships, shacks and towns – is an externalisation of costs, and thus a deprivation of basic human rights for these constituencies who have little or no voice in our current democratic dispensation. And have direct decision-making in operations in matters affecting them directly or indirectly.

The Bench Marks Foundation August 2022 podcast involves a discussion with Hassen Lorgat (Bench Marks Foundation) and two community monitors.

Francina Nkosi is a member of the Waterberg Women Advocacy Organisation (WWAO ) formed over 10 years ago and has 500 members around Limpopo. They work on climate justice and gender justice, land and other human rights issues.

Thokozile Mntambo is a graduate of the Amandla.mobi Campaigner Fellowship and founder of the Ikhaya labantu, Black Lives Movement. They support the fight for low income black community and advocates for womens rights and the rights of the queer community. She is a digital rights campaigner. Thoko lives in Snake Park Thulare, Soweto.

10 Years After Marikana Podcast Part 2

Part 2:
– Respondent David Ramohanoe is a social justice activist, passionate about land reform, community development and industrial relations. He is also the Chairperson of Wonderkop Land Claims Committee.
– The Questions and Answers involved questions and discussion from the floor.
The media picked on one comment made by Bishop Jo Seoka, where he called on “President Cyril Ramaphosa to resign and that he be arrested for his alleged involvement in the 2012 Marikana Massacre.” This SABC report took the sensational route – to society at large – when they reported that “President Ramaphosa failed to apologise and show remorse for what happened in Marikana. Bishop Seoka also called for the dismissal of cases against the injured and arrested mineworkers.”

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